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San Salvador El Seco Chapel & Plaza

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The Chapel of San Salvador el Seco and its tiny former atirum are some of the least known places in Mexico City’s Center. When one gets as far south as the former canal of Chimalpopoca, today a street, one can sense the old edge of the island. It was likely a muddy slope to the canal. That canal traditionally indicates the southern shore of the old island city of Tenochtitlan.

The Chapel of San Salvador Seco is just a block and half to the north. Perhaps due to this rather “off the map” location, it only appears on maps beginning in the early 18th century.

The chapel is very clearly from Baroque period, although it was remodeled in the early 19th century. The façade has just a single niche. This holds a single carved stone figure and two portholes appear on either side. The tiny bell tower is tiled, and probably dates from that most recent remodeling. The chapel may have been under the direction of the Regina Coeli convent, along with the chapel of San Salvador el Verde, the atrium of which survives roughly one block south and two east. This is disputed. Both San Salvadors, El Verde and El Seco, share their names with two towns in Puebla, nearly directly east of Mexico City. But no link between the two provincial towns and these two chapels has been historically proven.

The old rectory takes up nearly the rest of the south side of the plaza. After the 1985 earthquakes, the chapel was damaged and abandoned for some time. Since then, both the plaza and the chapel have been carefully restored. The chapel in particular is often remarked on for its particular beauty. If the doors are open, do peak inside.

The Chapel of San Salvador el Seco is nearly directly south of Metro Isabel la Católica. The plaza is often visited on a walk to the striking Tlaxcoque Plaza. The San Salvador el Verde plaza is between the two.

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